Copper shielding and solder
I'm looking to shield my control cavity a little better due to some noise and am wondering what kind of shielding "tape" I should get and where I can buy it. Also is there a specific soldering "tin" I should/shouldn't use? I bought some stuff off amazon that was tin/lead mix I believe. Do I need to get something more specific?
This is the stuff I bought off amazon. Will this work for any soldering needed in the bass?
That should work.
I use this for sheilding...
I buy the two inch roll and cut it down to size. One roll is enough to do several instruments.
Sweet, thanks! Just ordered it, hoping this will help reduce some of the buzz/noise I'm hearing.
No problem. I use that tape on many basses and some friends guitars. The noisy ones are usually the basses I would expect to be quiet.
If you do a search there is a lot of helpful information about shielding and wiring around here.
Just make sure the copper tape has CONDUCTIVE adhesive, otherwise you will have to run a bead of solder across the top of all the pieces...
Copper tape used for shielding, the StewMac stuff for sure, has conductive adhesive.
Personally, I don't spend anywhere near that much when shielding. I use dollar-store aluminum foil. Yes, it works, extremely well. No soldering is required if solid contact is made and held between any individual pieces.
I glue the bottom piece to the bottom of the cavity with regular Elmer's white glue and do the same with the walls of the cavity. But the wall pieces are cut taller than the cavity with tabs that are cut to fold and make contact with the bottom piece, then taped down. Do the same with the cavity cover and trim to look nice, then run one wire taped or soldered (g'luck soldering, I just tape) from any point on the shielding near the jack to the sleeve on the jack. You're grounded and if you hear any hum next to fluorescent lights, check to make sure you actually have conductivity between all of the pieces and the sleeve of the jack.
It's a ton cheaper.
I personally just go to a stained glass supply shop and buy a sheet for $8. I don't see the problem in splurging the $5 to have a much neater job, plus you can solder to the copper foil tape much easier than aluminum. To each their own.
I used the StewMac kit.
It's true you can do this with other conductive metal foils, but I found the StewMac kit to be a good step-saver. I did need to supplement it with a few spots of solder, but ymmv
I am planning to do another bass, so it cost me roughly $12.00 a bass.
You don't have to solder as long as you make contact with ground somewhere.
A common thing to do is go up the cavity walls so that your foil touches the shield on the back of the pickguard which in turn is grounded via the pots. As long as everything is making a connection to ground somewhere you are all set.
As for foil, even kitchen aluminium foil does.
However, it's probably better to debug the source of the noise first. Not everything is covered by shielding.
Thanks for all the input!
Ok so here's my problem maybe someone can chime in with a suggestion. A few weeks ago I switched a pot out on my bass since the original pot installed had stripped threads and wouldn't stay put (the nut kept on top of the bass kept slipping off and the knob would move around a lot). The pot is a concentric bass/treble stacked knob.
I ordered a new 50k stacked pot from BestBassGear.com. I went to replace the pot and soldered all the wires exactly as they were on the old pot. (both the old pot and new pot look identical so I'm sure I have the right pot). When I went to test it everything worked as it should, bass would boost/cut, treble would boost/cut. But as I turned up the volume I noticed there was a buzz that I'm not sure was there before.
Since I can't spear head the problem with the replaced pot (all soldering looks clean and no wires touching), I was thinking I would go back and simply shield the control cavity (currently shielded with conductive paint) to see if helps with the noise and while I'm at it rewire the preamp altogether.
Sucks, but I feel like it's my only option at this point.
Sounds as simple as the pot case not being grounded.
BTW, does it get better when you touch the strings as opposed to not touching anything grounded?
I'll have to check that out tomorrow. That would be an easy fix! Although I didn't notice any ground on the old pot, but now I'm gonna go back and look to make sure.
Yes buzz goes away pretty much when I touch the strings or knobs.
Either way I was planning on soldering the connecting pieces but does it have to bead bead or can it simply be a solder "tack"?
Also, in regards to grounding the pot, I'm positive I didn't ground the pot as I hadn't seen any grounding point on the previous pot, but I will be going in today and grounding it just in case, as process of elimination factor.
Here is an easy diagnosis:
If you have a buzz that gets louder when you touch metal/strings/bridge you have a grounding issue.
If you have a buzz that goes away when you touch metal/strings/bridge you have a shielding issue.
If you have a constant buzz, you have a deeper issue.
It sounds like outside interference to me.
As long as your solder point is shiny and smooth, it is fine.
You need to do the pickup cavities, including the sides, and you should also be doing the pickup covers themselves. I like to bring the copper foil around to the side of the pickup covers so I can solder a wire to the outer edge, it is just easier. Do the bottom of the pickguard anywhere the cavity is open underneath, do not worry about doing the whole pickguard. Also ensure the control and pickup cavity wrap comes up and over the screw holes so the screws have to pierce the shielding, it ensures optimum contact.
If you need more help please feel free to PM me, I hate hum and try to remove it from every bass I can.
That doesn't mean it's good but it's normal. I think your bass works as intended.
You can get rid of the bridge ground (which improves safety in some ways) after you do a complete enough jobs of shielding.
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